For over 12 years, first as the Athabasca Oil Sands Reclamation Advisory Committee (RAC) and then as the Reclamation Working Group (RWG) with its incorporation into CEMA in May 2001, the RWG has been applying science and traditional knowledge to guide the return of boreal forest ecosystems in the oil sands region.
The mandate of the RWG is to produce and maintain guidance documents that provide recommendations and best practices to ensure that reclaimed landscapes meet regulatory requirements, satisfy the needs and values of stakeholders, and are environmentally sustainable. Specifically, the RWG develops and updates guideline documents referred to in the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approvals for oil sands mines.
These guideline documents are recommended to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development by CEMA’s 16 member sector balanced Board which represents more than 50 members who sit on one of four caucuses: Aboriginal, Government, Non-Government Organizations and Industry. These guidelines are generally published by the Government of Alberta for oil sands operators to follow when developing reclamation and closure plans.
To that end, the RWG oversees and approves the work plans of task groups and sub-groups, each with a specific reclamation directive. These task groups and sub-groups are responsible for producing and periodically updating reclamation guidelines. The RWG may then approve the guidelines and/or seek additional knowledge. Guidelines produced in this way include:
- Land Capability Classification System (LCCS) for Forest Ecosystems in the Oil Sands;
- Guidelines for Reclamation to Forest Vegetation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region;
- Best Management Practices for Conservation of Reclamation Materials in the Mineable Oil Sands Region;
- Guideline for Wetland Establishment on Reclaimed Oil Sands Leases; and
- End Pit Lake Guidance Document (PDF 92MB).
RWG: A Video Introduction
RWG Annual Reports
- CEMA Reclamation Working Group: 2009 Annual Report (PDF)
- CEMA Reclamation Working Group: 2010 Annual Report (PDF)
- CEMA Reclamation Working Group: 2011 Annual Report (PDF)
- CEMA Reclamation Working Group: 2012 Annual Report (PDF)